AUBURN, Ala. — Tray Matthews, the leading tackler for Auburn football during the 2016 season, has officially made his decision on 2017 — he’s staying in school.
On Monday night, Matthews posted a message that he would stay for one more year at Auburn on his Twitter account:
Excited to play one more year and my last year here at Auburn . This WILL be an epic year ????
— TriggaTray (@Trigga_Tray28) January 17, 2017
Many expected Matthews to return for his senior season at Auburn. He told SEC Country’s Lauren Shute after the Sugar Bowl that he was coming back for the 2017 season.
However, Matthews later backtracked and said he hadn’t made an “official” decision. With Monday being the deadline for underclassmen to declare early for the 2017 NFL Draft, Matthews waited until the last moment to announce his move:
It's not official yet ….
— TriggaTray (@Trigga_Tray28) January 4, 2017
Matthews led Auburn with 76 tackles in 2016 and started all 13 games at strong safety. Next season will be his third as a starter at Auburn after transferring from Georgia following the 2013 campaign. All throughout the 2016 season, Matthews leaned toward staying on the Plains.
“Just because of how things changed over one year and how Coach Steele and the defensive staff, it’s just a great feeling,” Matthews said last month. “Then you’ve got the new quarterback coming in, and Sean White will still be here and Pettway will still be here. There’s a lot to look forward to next year.
“It’s very exciting. Everyone knows what we have and everyone knows what we’re capable of when everyone is healthy. I’m excited and everyone in the Auburn nation should be excited.”